Friends and foes offer condolences to Iran after President Raisi's death

Friends and foes offer condolences to Iran after President Raisi's death
World leaders and allies of Iran have sent messages of condolences to Iran following the death of the country's president and foreign minister on Sunday.
9 min read
20 May, 2024
The death of President Ebrahim Raisi has shocked Iran [Getty]

Iran officially announced the death of the country's president, foreign minister and other officials early Monday following a helicopter crash a day earlier.

Rescue teams searched the difficult mountainous terrain in Iran's northwest for hours on Sunday after a helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and other Iranian officials went missing.

Raisi and his delegation had just meet with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev at a border point.

Early Monday, relief workers located the missing helicopter, with state television confirming the president's death.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has announced five days of mourning.

Condolences have poured in from countries and groups allied with Tehran, as well as nations which the Iranian government has in recent years worked to mend ties with.


Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed Raisi as an "outstanding politician" and said his death in a helicopter crash was an "irreplaceable loss".

"Raisi was an outstanding politician whose entire life was dedicated to serving his homeland," Putin said. "As a true friend of Russia, he made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good-neighbourly relations between our countries."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also expressed his condolences to the Iranian people, saying the deceased officials were "true and reliable friends of Russia".


China's President Xi Jinping said that the "tragic death" of Raisi in a helicopter crash was "a great loss to the Iranian people", according to Beijing's foreign ministry.

"President Xi Jinping pointed out... His tragic death is a great loss to the Iranian people, and the Chinese people have lost a good friend," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular press conference.


Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also extended his country's "deepest condolences and sympathies to the Iranian nation on this terrible loss".

"Had been anxiously following developments regarding the reported crash landing of President Raisi's helicopter. Was hoping for good news. Alas, this was not to be," Sharif wrote in a post on X.

Raisi was in Pakistan last month, a visit which came after tensions ran high early this year following tit-for-tat airstrikes between the neighbouring countries.


Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani expressed his "sincere condolences to the Iranian government and its people" on the death of Raisi and his companions in the accident.

Iraq was the first Arab country to release a statement following the announcement of Raisi's death.

"As we extend our sincere condolences and sympathy to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Mr. Ali Khamenei, and to the government and people of Iran, we express our solidarity with the brotherly Iranian people and with the responsible brothers in the Islamic Republic in this painful tragedy," Sudani said in statement published by the Iraqi News Agency.

Since the ouster of late dictator Saddam Hussein following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran has been a key player in the Iraqi political and military scene. Tehran has armed and funded several Shia militias, some of which have become integrated in Iraq's security forces.

Raisi was supposed to make his first visit to Iraq "soon", reports said in early May.


The caretaker cabinet in Lebanon, another country where Iran has long held political influence through its ally, Shia militant group Hezbollah, announced a three-day national mourning.

Hezbollah, a group in which Iran played an essential role in establishing in 1982 during Lebanon’s multi-faceted civil war, offered its condolences to its ally, Tehran.

"We have known His Eminence the martyred president closely for a long time, and he was to us a big brother, a strong supporter, and a staunch defender of our issues and the nation’s issues, first and foremost Jerusalem and Palestine, and a protector of the resistance movements and its mujahideen (fighters) in all the positions of responsibility that he assumed," a Hezbollah statement said.

"Also, the dear brother, martyr Dr Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, was… a present, active, sacrificing minister and flag-bearer in all political and diplomatic forums around the world, a lover of the resistance movements, and dedicated to their victory and support."


The Palestinian Hamas group expressed its "full solidarity with Iran in this painful and grave incident that claimed the lives of [some of] the best Iranian leaders who had a rich journey in Iran’s renaissance".

Hamas commended Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian for their "honourable positions in supporting our Palestinian cause, supporting the legitimate struggle of our people against the Zionist entity, and support for the Palestinian resistance".

The group has been fighting Israeli forces for nearly eight months in the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless and indiscriminate Israeli attack since 7 October last year.

Hamas has long been supported by Iran, but the Iranian government denies its involvement in Hamas' 7 October attacks in southern Israel.


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad expressed solidarity with close ally Tehran, which has backed his regime during years of conflict.

Assad "affirmed Syria's solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran and with the families of the late deceased and his comrades", the Syrian presidency said in a statement.

"We worked with the late President to ensure that strategic relations between Syria and Iran flourish always," the statement added.

Iran, along with Russia, have played crucial roles in helping prop up Assad’s regime. Tehran's intervention in Syria has seen it back militias and Syrian regime forces against rebel groups in the war-torn country.

UAE and Saudi Arabia

The UAE, which has mended ties with Tehran after years of rift, "stands in solidarity with Iran at this difficult time", said Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

"I extend my deepest condolences to the Iranian government and people over the passing of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and those accompanying them following a tragic accident," Sheikh Mohammed posted on social media platform X.

Like with other Gulf states, relations between the UAE and Iran had long been strained over numerous issues. The UAE claims three islands in the Gulf which were seized by Iran in 1971, and matters related to security have also been a source of tension between Abu Dhabi and Tehran.

In June, Amir-Abdollahian visited the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman as part of a regional tour aimed at consolidating Tehran's Gulf ties.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday offered to help Iran in search efforts. A landmark agreement brokered by China in February last year saw Riyadh and Tehran re-establish ties after they were severed in January 2016, when protesters in the Iranian capital stormed the Saudi embassy following the execution of a Shia cleric in the Gulf kingdom.

Yemen's Houthis

Yemen's Houthi rebel group, a close ally of Iran, considered Raisi's death a "loss for the entire Islamic nation" in a post published on X by the group's official spokesman, Mohammed Abel Salam.

Iran has long denied arming Ansarullah, the official name of the Houthi armed group, saying it only supports them politically in the years-long war against a Saudi-led coalition, which has eased since 2022 largely due to the Saudi-Iranian detente.


Jordan's King Abdullah, which very recently announced that his country foiled an Iranian-led plot to smuggle weapons into the kingdom, also offered his sympathies.

"My deepest condolences to the brothers, leadership, government, and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the death of Brother President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Brother Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and those accompanying them, may God have mercy on them all. We stand in solidarity with our brothers in Iran in this difficult circumstance," King Abdullah II wrote on X.


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also mourned his late Iranian counterpart.

Sisi offered his "deepest condolences and sympathy to the brotherly Iranian people", expressing "the solidarity of the Arab Republic of Egypt with the Iranian leadership and people in this great affliction".

Raisi had expressed his willingness to better ties with Egypt, which has long viewed Iran as a security threat for aiding Islamist and militant groups of concern to Cairo, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others.

Bilateral talks, sponsored mainly by Iraq, have been underway for over a year to re-establish official ties between Egypt and Iran.


Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani also offered his sympathies.

"Sincere condolences to the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and the accompanying officials in the painful helicopter accident, asking God Almighty for mercy and forgiveness for them and for their families with patience and solace," the Emir wrote on X.

"We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return."

Unlike its Arab Gulf neighbours, Doha has long shared good ties with Tehran.


Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said: "We were greatly shocked by the great loss that befell the friendly and brotherly Republic of Iran and its people" with the news.

Raisi had just met with Aliyev at the two countries' border hours prior to the crash.

Relations have long been tense between Tehran and Baku over Azerbaijan’s military collaboration with Israel.


Turkey also said it was "deeply saddened" by the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

Turkey "shares the pain of the friendly and brotherly Iranian people," Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise" of Raisi.

"His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow," Modi wrote on X.

European Union

European Council President Charles Michel expressed the EU’s "sincere condolences" after the death of Raisi and other officials, most notably Amir-Abdollahian, in a helicopter crash in the northwest of Iran on Sunday.

Several other countries around the world also released statements offering their condolences.

(Agencies contributed to this report)